van Bergen Kolpa Architecten

Infra Ecology

Client: International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam 2003
Project: Public presentation Infra Ecology (awarded with the Innovation Award First International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam)
Animation with: Catalogtree Arnhem
Research & design: Jago van Bergen, Duzan Doepel and Willemijn Lofvers

Infra Ecology is a research project on areas polluted by the effects of infrastructure, and their relation to landscape and buildings. Infrastructure constitutes only 3% of the surface area of the Netherlands. However, pollution control legislation reserves adjacent space for noise, fumes and vibrations. The actual area claimed by infrastructure increases then tenfold to 30% of the Netherlands. The aim of the research is to transform the negatively affected surface area of infrastructure into positive elements. An infra-ecology transforms various forms of pollution into clean environments, using a process of dispersal and absorption by production crops and production landscapes. New residential areas, working and leisure activities profit directly from the release of energy and the optimal accessibility of the site.

BP Koolzaad - BP rapeseed, a network of petrol stations along motorways, energy crops absorb the carbon dioxide of exhaust fumes. The rapeseed, algae, beetroot and willow then in turn produce enough fuel for motorised Netherlands. Petrol stations characterise a new agricultural landscape.

Kas Kantoor - Greenhouse Office are urban sites comprising a combination of greenhouses and offices. In this model, all exhaust fumes from road traffic are filtered to help grow plants. Carbon monoxide enriches the soil, small particles clean the water, while the building itself is cooled by the absorption of sulphur dioxide. The greenhouses function as mediator between motorway and office and provide a green, productive work environment.

Golf Circuit - Wave Circuit occurs at the interface of waterway and railway. The vibrations made by passing trains and boats create waves, which are converted into energy by a generator. This process provides the floating houses with electricity. Due to the seasonal change in flow from the river, housing density varies between winter and summer.

Spa Spar is a motel chain located at the intersection of waterways and motorways. In this dome, polluted water is cleansed using ozone. The ozone is generated by a chemical reaction between the odour of pine and exhaust fumes with sunlight. The clean water flows back into the river via a series of spring water baths for motel guests in a pine forest.

In summary, thirty percent of the Netherlands is affected by pollution of infrastructure. Noise, exhaust fumes and vibrations are taken up into a new Infra Ecology and processed into new products profitable for living, working and leisure. Infra Ecology binds functions, infrastructure and landscape together. Restrictions on mobility channels because of nuisance are no longer necessary.